Tuesday, June 5, 2001 Winnipeg SUN
Pique of the market
Parents 'livid' after students taught to masturbate with fruits, vegetables
By Tom Brodbeck, CITY COLUMNIST
River East School Division students got the shock of their lives when they signed up for a mini-university course at the University of Winnipeg in April.
The teenage girls thought they were going to get a lesson in art history from a one-week "Women in Art" course designed for high school students.
What they got instead was an orientation on lesbian lifestyle and how women can satisfy themselves sexually without men using a variety of fruits and vegetables.
"People were shown fondling objects such as carrots and/or cucumbers and saying you could use this, you don't need a man," said John Carlyle, superintendent of River East School Division. "The message was not one of art, it was a message of 'girls don't need men, you can get along without them quite nicely -- use the following kinds of paraphernalia and you'll be OK.' "
Good grief. Is this where our tax dollars are going these days?
You gotta ask yourself what a publicly-funded institution is doing giving teen-age girls tips on how lesbians can get off without men.
It's not my idea of a higher education.
And it wasn't for the parents who sent their 15-year-old daughters to what they thought was a bona fide educational experience.
When they heard about the content of this "course," they hit the roof.
"By the end of the first day, the phone calls from parents were just deafening -- they were livid with what occurred," said Carlyle.
What they were expecting was a course on women in art, some historical insight into women artists, perhaps -- maybe a discussion on how women are depicted in art.
WHO NEEDS MEN?
They didn't think their kids would be attending a seminar on the finer points of fruit and vegetable masturbation and how it can eliminate the need for male co-habitation.
Carlyle says there was no nudity in the videos shown to the students.
Rather, it was images of women demonstrating how fruits and vegetables -- including bananas -- can provide females with sexual satisfaction.
"It appeared to be an opportunity for young ladies to go and hear about women in art," said Carlyle. "Instead (it was) 'guess what mom, we were shown films that were basically advocating lesbianism and alternative ways for girls to satisfy themselves sexually that didn't need men in their life.' "
Needless to say, the students got a full refund.
And red-faced university executives have met with parents to try to patch things up.
Amazingly, there wasn't a single person at the U of W to comment on this yesterday.
Instead, I was sent a written statement by university president Constance Rooke, who apparently had time to write a letter, but couldn't find time for a five-minute telephone interview.
She agrees the material wasn't "age appropriate" and that greater care will be taken in the future to ensure this doesn't happen again.
"I would not regard some of the videos used in this course as 'step one' in helping students to think effectively about these issues," she writes.
An understatement to be sure.